“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruits”

first_imgWhen President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tapped CSA boss George Werner to head the Ministry of Education, it came as a surprise to many and perhaps the question on their minds was, “Is he the right one for the job?” The question stems from the fact that many of the “old and experienced hands” could not deliver on the task given them.The Liberian education system is emerging from a prolonged and brutally destructive period of civil unrest. Liberia is significantly behind most other countries in the African region in nearly all education statistics.After 14 years of civil war, which resulted in the destruction of much of the country’s trained workforce, the country is still in the process of rebuilding its educational system, according to the USAID.To compound it all, in 2013, 25,000 persons who sat the University of Liberia exams failed miserably that it caught the attention of the world. President Sirleaf finally had to admit that the system is a “mess and requires a complete overhaul.”That Liberian students could not pass a university entrance without garnering headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons meant our education system has indeed faltered and is no longer in its pre-war years when it was second to none.And even after the cessation of hostilities twelve years after and the appointments of seasoned educators, that sector continues to take a nosedive.And so many are wondering about the background of the newly appointed minister and what has he to offer to our already broken system. Education, it seems, has been the lifeblood of this young man nearly all his life.George Werner holds a BA in Education from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome and a Master of Arts in social work (concentration in social policy) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice while earning a cumulative GPA of 3.80. To sum it up, he studied didactics, (which is the science of teaching) as a one year non degree course at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. And he has taught across the world from Liberia, South Africa and the United States of America.Prior to his appointment, he currently serves a Director general of the Civil Service Agency, one of the many government agencies that was dogged by the issues of ghost names, salaries etc. He spearheaded the Civil Service reform in an effort to regularize the civil service, optimize the size of government and professionalized the workforce for improved service delivery.Lest we forget that he currently oversees the inter-ministerial scholarship from bilateral partners and under his watch, scholarships are given on merit, unlike the yesteryears when the doling out of scholarships was mired in the patronage system.As mentioned supra, President Sirleaf has already claimed that our education system is a mess. And now that herculean task of dry cleaning that mess rests squarely on the shoulders of George Werner and his team of lieutenants.First, he has to use his magic wand to clear the names of ghost teachers on the payroll, teachers receiving their salaries on time so it doesn’t obstruct teachings and teachers who are yearning for employment but are yet contracted.Then there’s the issue of competency of the teachers. Having an undergraduate degree doesn’t necessarily mean you are qualified to teach. Teaching, like any profession, has ethics that govern the teachers.Due to the fact the many of our teachers eschew teacher training, the line of demarcation between a teacher and a student, howbeit thin, is hardly ever seen. Hence, there are always reports of intimacy between teachers and students. Few years ago, a teacher of Cathedral Catholic School was remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison for having an intimate relationship with an underage female student. This is one area the incoming minister will have to apply fifty shades of gray.In order for a student to compete with students from around the globe, he/she must be taught from a rather strong curriculum. Truth be told, Liberia’s education curriculum is antiquated. When the trial exams of West African Senior School Certificate Examination were administered, it was only Elvis Juasemai, a student of the Soltiamon Christian School System, emerged by the skin of a flea with flying colors. Another issue constantly overlooked but can certainly be given the limelight when Werner takes office is the absence of extracurricular activities in our schools. Extracurricular activities are those that fall outside the realm of school or university education. Most times students go into university without knowing what to do. That’s because they never found their niche in high school, thanks to the lack of extracurricular activities in these schools.In a commentary titled, “Neglecting Extra-curricular Activities Could Perpetuate Poor WAEC Results,” Liberian journalist Momolu Dorley laments: “Extra-curricular activities is a crucial component to education in any successful country because it allows the student to learn about theatre, about passion, imagination and self-discovery. I am of the conviction that one of the joys of education is letting folks discover the pleasure of learning for them.”As a former teacher, Werner understands fully the significance of extracurricular activities and its contribution to the growth and development of students cannot be over emphasized.Werner has an ambitious plan to get the education sector better than what it was during the prewar years. To have a smooth sailing, he needs the support of all and sundry. Currently, government spends 12% of its annual budget on education, a paltry sum when one compares it to Ghana which currently spends 33% of its annual budget on education.Yes, the expectations are high and to whom much is given, much is also expected but we must be reminded by the words of the French playwright artist Jean Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name as Moliere: “trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruits.”About the author: Gboko John Stewart, a product of Monrovia College, is a freelance journalist and radio talk show host. He has been accepted to study at Quest University Canada. He runs an online petition on change.org and has gathered over 1000 signatures calling on the Canadian government to lift its visa ban on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone so that he and others can travel there for studies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

ATHLETICS: FINN VALLEY AC FIXTURE LIST – OCT 2012 TO SEPT 2013

first_imgFinn Valley Fixture List; Oct. 2012 – Sept. 2013 DATEEVENTVENUE October 2012 Sun 7thDonegal Even Ages & Masters CCCastlefinn   Sun 14thDonegal Uneven Ages & Novice CCKillybegs   Sun 21stGerry Farnan CC (Masters Trial)Phoenix Park   Sat 27thUlster Even AgesRostrevor    November 2012 Sun 4thDonegal Senior Cross CountryLetterkenny   Sun 11thUlster Uneven Ages & Novice CCKillybegs   Sat 17thBritish & Irish Masters CCStormontSun 25thAAI Even Ages & Inter Counties CCRatoath, Co Meath    December 2012 Sun 2ndTurkey TrotLetterkenny   Sun 9thEuropean Cross Country ChampionshipsBudapest, HunSun 9thAAI Uneven Ages & Novice CCAdamstown, Wex   Wed 26thFinn Valley 5k Race & WalkFinn Valley Centre    January 2013 Sat 12thUAC/ANI Senior Cross CountryGreenmount,Antrim   Sun 19thAAI Masters Indoor ChampionshipsNenaghSun 20thAAI Jun & Under 23 Indoor ChampsNenagh   Sat 26thAAI Indoors Combined EventsNenaghSat 26thANI/UAC Intermediate & Masters CCTBCSun 27thRaheny 5 Mile Road RaceDublinSun 27thAAI GamesNenagh       February 2013  Sun 3rdAAI Intermediate & Masters CCGransha, DerryGransha, DerrySun 3rdAAI Juvenile Dev CCGransha, DerryAs above    Tues 5thUlster Schools ‘C’ District Cross CountryColeraineAthloneWed 6thFloodlit Track MeetFinn ValleyMagherafelt    Sat/Sun 9/10thAAI Senior Indoor ChampionshipsAthloneinn Valley Centre    Sat/Sun 16/17thUlster Juv. Indoors Under ChampionshipsMagherafeltTullamoreSunday 17thFinn Valley 5k Series Race 1Finn Valley CentreTullamore   Wed 20thUlster Schools Cross CountryMallusk, Belfast   Sun 24thAAI Senior & Junior Cross CountryTullamoreSun 24thAAI Juv Cross Country RelaysTullamore    March 2013 Sat 2ndUlster Juvenile IndoorsJordanstownSunday 3rdFinn Valley 5k Series Race 2Finn Valley Centre    Sat 9thIrish Schools & Universities CCUlster Venue Sunday 10thFinn Valley 5k Series Race 3Finn Valley Centre     Sunday 24thFinn Valley 5k Series Race 4Finn Valley Centre Sat/Sun 23/24thAAI Juvenile Indoor ChampionshipsNenagh    Sat 30thBallyliffen Coastal 10 MilesBallyliffen,Donegal       April 2013  Sat/Sun 6/7thAAI Juvenile Indoor ChampionshipsNenagh     Sunday 14thAAI 10k Championships/Great RunPhoenix Park    Raheny, DublinFri/Sat 20/21stIUAA T & F ChampionshipsAIT Athlone    Navan. MeathSunday 21stAAI Spring Throwing Competition    Sunday 28thAAI Road RelaysRaheny, Dublin    MAY 2013 Sunday 5thNorth West 10K Road RaceLetterkenny   Wednesday 8thUlster Schools ‘C’ District T & FAntrim Forum   Tue/Wed 14/15thFinn Valley Primary Schools. 2 DaysFinn Valley Centre   Fri/Sat 17/18thUlster Schools FinalsAntrim Forum   Sunday 26thAAI National League Round 1Various   Wednesday 30thDonegal Primary SchoolsFinn Valley Centre    JUNE 2013 Saturday 1stAll Ireland Schools Track & FieldTullamoreSunday 2ndUlster Children’s Games CompetitionFinn Valley CentreMonday 3rdWomen’s Mini MarathonDublin   Saturday 8thUlster Juv T & F ChammpionshipsAntrim ForumSunday 9thAAI Games & Senior RelaysSantry   Saturday 15thUAC/ANI Senior T & F ChampionshipsAntrim ForumSunday 16thUlster Juv T&F ChampionshipsAntrim Forum   Sat/Sun 22/23rdEuropean T & F Team CompetitionSantry, dublin      Saturday 29thTailteann Schools Inter ProvincialSantrySaturday 29thAAI  Juv. Team Event Under 9, 10 & 11Finn Valley Centre   Sunday 30thAAI Junior & Under 23 ChampionshipsTullamore    JULY 2013    Sat/Sun 6/7thAAI Juvenile ChampionshipsTullamoreFri 6 – 17World Student GamesRussia   Wed 10-14thIAAF World Youth ChampionshipsUkraineThurs 11-14thEAA Under 23 ChampionshipsFinland   Sunday 14thAAI National League Round 2VariousSun 14-19thEYOFNetherlands   Wed 18-21stEAA Junior ChampionshipsRieti, Italy   Saturday 20thSchools InternationalSantry, DublinSat/Sun 20/21stAAI Juvenile Championships & RelaysTullamore   Sat/Sun 27/28thAAI Senior T & F ChampionshipsSantry    AUGUST 2013 Saturday 3rdCeltic Games Track & Field    Sat 10th-18thIAAF World ChampionshipsMoscow   Sat/Sun 10/11thAAI Senior & Juv Combined Events Sunday 11thAAI Juv Development Championships    Saturday 17thAAI Masters T & F ChampionshipsTullamoreSunday 18thAAI National League FinalTullamore   Sat/Sun 24/25thCommunity Games, National FinalsAthlone    SEPTEMBER 2012    Sunday 2ndAAI Half Marathon Championships   ATHLETICS: FINN VALLEY AC FIXTURE LIST – OCT 2012 TO SEPT 2013 was last modified: October 16th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ATHLETICS: FINN VALLEY AC FIXTURE LIST – OCT 2012 TO SEPT 2013last_img read more

BUDGET 2013: McCONALOGUE’S ANGER AS COLLEGES FEES GO UP €750

first_imgSTUDENT registration fees in college will rise €250 next year – and further €500 over the following two years.And the Donegal VEC faces a massive cut – as €13M was slashed for authorities nationwide.Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has expressed his “shock at the attack” on the higher education and further education and training sectors, at a time when we should be encouraging as many young people as possible to stay in education. The measures announced today will hit the most disadvantaged school leavers hardest, said the Donegal TD.Deputy McConalogue commented: “The decision to increase the student contribution fee by €250 again in 2013 may have been well flagged, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Minister Quinn is overseeing the largest increase in student fees of any Minister for Education. Ruairí Quinn lied to students to get elected and he must now take responsibility for the choices he has made.“The Minister has also chosen to increase the amount that students are asked to pay at third level, while at the same time removing €25 million in resources from a sector that is in desperate need of increased funding. The model being pursued by Minister Quinn is wholly unfair as it limits access for those from middle and low income families, while failing to address the sector’s funding deficit.“Not only will students find it increasingly expensive to attend college, they will also now find it even more difficult to qualify for a student maintenance grant following a 3% reduction in income thresholds for student grants. This is a disgraceful decision by the Minister in light of the ongoing crisis with student grant delays. “Minister Quinn’s attack on the further education and training sector has come as a bolt out of the blue. The Minister’s decision to implement a 2 point PTR increase in PLC schools, the removal of training allowances for further education and training programmes and also the significant reduction in allocation to VECs will hit the most disadvantaged students hardest, in particular early school leavers.“On the 6th difficult budget in row, I find it incredible that Minister Quinn would state that VECs and third level institutions would ‘have money in their reserves’ to offset his budget cuts. I am calling on the Minister to publish details of the reserves he claims are residing with the VECs and third level institutions. The unfortunate truth is that in reality, students will end up paying for these cuts.“Further details are needed from the Minister in relation to the 20,000 students that are expected to enter our schools over the next year, in light of the fact that no extra funds have allocated to accommodate the increase in numbers. The Minister must make clear what services will be cut to fund increased student numbers.“Fianna Fáil believes that it simply isn’t possible to inflict a further €90 million in cuts to the education sector without doing real damage to education standards, undermining economic growth and increasing inequality. This is why we insisted on protecting education funding within our budget proposal, A Fairer Way to Recovery.” BUDGET 2013: McCONALOGUE’S ANGER AS COLLEGES FEES GO UP €750 was last modified: December 5th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BUDGET 2013: McCONALOGUE’S ANGER AS COLLEGES FEES GO UP €750last_img read more

ICC World Twenty20: New Zealand’s road to semi-finals

first_imgNew Zealand stormed into the semi-finals without losing any of their league matches by beating India, Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. New Zealand take on England in the first semi-final of the World Twenty20 today.Beat India by 47 runsKane Williamson’s gamble to compromise on speed and pick three specialist spinners paid off as New Zealand humbled hosts India by 47 runs in a spin-dominated Super 10 contest.Opting to bat first, New Zealand posted 126/7 on a rank turner in Nagpur. The total looked insufficient going by India’s proficiency against spin bowling.New Zealand’s three-pronged spin attack, however, ensured it was more than enough as Mitchell Santner (4-11), Nathan McCullum (2-15) and the Indian-born Ish Sodhi (3-18) wrecked the hosts who folded for 79 in 18.1 overs.Beat Australia by 8 runsNew Zealand beat Australia by eight runs in a Group Two match at the World Twenty20 in Dharamsala. Opting to bat first, New Zealand posted 142/8 and restricted Australia to 134/9 to record their second successive victory in the tournament.Beat Pakistan by 22 runsAfter posting a mammoth total of 180/5, New Zealand restricted Pakistan to 158/8 beating them by 22 runs to cement their place in the semi-finals. Despite a blazing start by openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shahzad, who scored 47 (25) and 30 (32) respectively, others failed to capitalize on the launching pad provided by the two. Khalid Latif made (3), Umar Akmal (24), captain Shahid Afridi (19), Shoaib Malik (15) and Sarfraz Ahmed (11) for Pakistan.In-form opener Martin Guptill was the star of New Zealand innings who smashed 80 runs off just 48 balls to lift his side to 180/5 in the Super 10 encounter.advertisementBeat Bangladesh by 75 runsNew Zealand kept their unbeaten record intact at the World Twenty20 when they thumped Bangladesh by 75 runs in their last Group 2 match on a tricky wicket. Bangladesh were dismissed for 70 in 15.4 overs after fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman had grabbed 5 for 22 but still couldn’t stop New Zealand from scoring a competitive 145/8.New Zealand’s fourth successive victory was halted for 11 minutes when one of the light towers at Eden Gardens went off in the 11th over with Bangladesh at 45-6 before medium fast Grant Elliott (3-12) and legspinner Ish Sodhi (3-21) finished off the match quickly.last_img read more